More on Yacabonis’ role in camp

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles held their annual Photo Day this morning at Ed Smith Stadium before taking the field for stretching and workouts. No media access until later today.

The schedule doesn’t show any bullpen or live batting practice sessions for the pitchers.

Jimmy Yacabonis is on a starter’s routine in camp, including two turns of live BP. Relievers were held to one.

As I wrote yesterday, manager Brandon Hyde is open to using Yacabonis in the rotation or as a long reliever and will continue to stretch him out. There’s no indication that the Orioles want him starting in the majors or Triple-A Norfolk rather than be used out of the bullpen.

His chances of sticking with the club increase because of it.

Yacabonis dealing orange.jpg“I think they just want to stretch me out to see how my stamina holds up and go from there,” he said. “I don’t really know if I’m going to be getting starts when the games start. I don’t know if they’re going to use me as an extended reliever or as a starter or even as an opener. I’m not really sure yet. It’s still kind of up in the air.”

The “opener” idea is intriguing and executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias didn’t dismiss the possibility while addressing the media on the first day of camp. He could revisit the subject later in the spring and Yacabonis certainly would be a candidate for it. .

“With all the arms we’ve got and all the young guys we’ve got on the 40-man, it’s kind of like, just trying to win a spot at first and then go from there,” Yacabonis said.

The live BP session allowed Yacabonis to concentrate on locating his fastball.

“It went well,” said Yacabonis, who made seven starts for the Orioles among 12 appearances last season and had a recurring role as the 26th man in doubleheaders. “I didn’t throw that many changeups. A lot of two-seamers. I was working on trying to spot up my fastball and mix in a couple breaking balls, too, just to get the spin going on that. But I’ll start incorporating the changeup more in bullpens and stuff and start to get comfortable with it so I can throw it in situations when I need it.”

Andrew Susac caught Yacabonis and joked that Trey Mancini almost ruined the session. Mancini overheard the conversation from his locker and just smiled.

“He looked good,” Yacabonis said, offering a sort of confirmation.

“He squared me up. I left something up and he put the barrel on it. But I mean, that’s his job, you know?”

Guys are having fun in camp.

* The Orioles announced plans this morning to wear a No. 20 patch on their sleeves during exhibition games and throughout the 2019 season to honor and celebrate the life of Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who passed away on Feb. 7 at 83.

Robinson fought bone cancer with the same intensity that he brought to the field. Just as you’d expect.

The circular patch is on the right sleeve. An orange number set against a black background.

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